The year was 2003. Attack of the Clones had been out in theatres for a year, with the Clone Wars multimedia project already in full swing with the likes of The Clone Wars video game and Republic comic series, but 2003 was where it started to really take off. The first of the Clone Wars novels were releasing, and so too was this TV micro series at the end of the year.
Produced by Genndy Tartakovsky – of Samurai Jack fame, it had a runtime of 3-5 minutes per episode, with ten per season (which would be merged into volume 1 in later years. Showing off various battles of the Clone Wars, the focus would be on the Battle of Muunilinst that was headed by Obi-Wan and Anakin.
That first volume proved to be a success, with the third season bringing in a longer runtime per episode, but with a shorter episode count. While the first volume showed off battles happening near the beginning of the Clone Wars, the second continued the events of the first's finale, before enacting several jumps in time that leads into the events of Revenge of the Sith.
It works, is really all I can say. The small bite-size set pieces of the first volume get straight to the point, offering up plenty of action that show the Jedi at their best and utilising the full extent of their Force powers. Sure, it does go over the top with them at times for spectacle, but that is what the series is about. The second volume alters things a bit to tell a story not interrupted with interludes to other battles, giving a bit more of a grand feel – almost movie-like.
There’s a great visual style running throughout the series, with its sharp, clearly defined characters. The locations all look great, calling on the franchises ability to make every location visually distinct – even if it’s just a desert and flatlands. For traditional animation, it’s also interesting to see action scenes taking place in the dark – or even underwater, as it allows the animation to really shine. Times such as these have a lot of impact. And speaking of impact, the action has it.
Tartakovsky brings his all when it comes to the action, with powerful poses and framing bringing pauses to what otherwise is fast and energetic movement throughout such scenes. It is all wonderfully animated and will keep you engaged in viewing it. The music also plays a part in such, with grand arrangements that fit the action happening. The sounds also buzz with the frenetic energy such action brings, but when things slow down…
Most of the work was definitely put into the action scenes. Those with the most power. And that’s fine. It works like that. After all, you aren’t going to be noticing the absence of sound when nothing much happens on screen. What you will probably notice however, is the voicework. It’s almost robotic in the first volume with how flat nearly all of it is. Maybe it’s just me who feels that way.
With this release on Disney+, there’s no excuse not to watch it. With everything condensed into the two volumes – lasting just over an hour each, it’s easy to fit inside a normal movie-length viewing session. Sure, none of it is canon any more, but why should that stop you from watching one of the best parts of the original Clone Wars multimedia project?